Meet Alicia Bojkov, Consignment Specialist, International Art

By: Dara Vandor

Alicia Bojkov is a Consignment Specialist in our International art department. She holds an MA and BAH in Art History from the University of Toronto where her scholarship focused on Modernism and early 20th century photography and collage. With experience in the museum and gallery aspects of the industry, Alicia has held positions at the Gardiner Museum, Aga Khan Museum and as the Associate Director of Corkin Gallery. Also an arts writer, Alicia has been a regular contributor to publications such as Inuit Art Quarterly.

As Alicia recently joined the Waddington’s team, we’re delighted to introduce her in more depth. We sat down with her to talk about her interest in early photography, her goals for the future, and what’s hanging on her walls.

What’s your first memory of art? Did you grow up in an artistic household?

My first “profound” memory of art was when I was around ten years old and visited the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, Germany. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of art that hung salon-style all around me. I wanted to know how and why one person, in this case, August the Strong, could amass such a collection and know the significance of each piece.

My family, being from Saxony, also exposed me to the decorative arts of Meißen porcelain, which my family has collected for generations. From this collection, I learned how to date works based on appearance, symbols, materials, etc. at a young age.

However, I wouldn’t say that I grew up in an artistic household. But, having had the opportunity to grow up in places like Rome and travel extensively throughout Europe, I was always surrounded by art when I was out and about and subconsciously wanted to understand what I was looking at.

Tell us about your previous career. Why did you decide to enter the world of auctions?

A career in the arts was something that I always imagined but wasn’t quite sure how it would manifest. Growing up, I saw myself being in music or in fashion but then I entered university, pursuing both English and Art History, with the goal of becoming a writer in some capacity. In the end, it was my History of Photography, Dada & Surrealism, and Modernism & Anti-Modernism courses that stole all of my energy and interest and led me to pursue my Masters in Art History.

Professionally, I started in the museum sector working at Toronto institutions like the Gardiner and Aga Khan Museums. I then pivoted to the commercial gallery world where I got a crash course in the art market – persistently watching the action at art fairs and bidding on auctions internationally.

The excitement of the auction world and the opportunity to handle a greater variety of artworks therefore led me to Waddington’s – it’s fun hopping from century to century throughout the auction cycle here.

Your studies focused on 20th century photography, what drew you to this subject?

I was drawn to early 20th-century photography because of the sheer power that a photograph held at that time. With most people associating photographs with reality or “proof”, the fairly new medium in the early 20th century both challenged and embraced notions of the real. I think the sinister part of me likes the trickery involved! In that realm of the subversive, I was also intrigued (or more so annoyed) by the continued dismissal of photography as an artform.

Why should people collect photography and multiples?

I love the democratization of art through photography and prints as they are typically more accessible. Through prints, more people have the opportunity to live with artworks by some of the greats.

Do you collect art yourself? What is a favourite piece from your collection? Or the most recent thing you bought?

That being said, I myself am also a collector of predominantly prints and photography. One of my more prized purchases is a Nan Goldin print – Nan as a punk in London,1978 – in which all of the proceeds went to P.A.I.N. and OnPointNYC. As a contributing writer to Inuit Arts Quarterly, I have also begun collecting works on paper and photographs by Inuit artists such as Josie Pamiutu Papialuk and Alyson Hardwick.

My husband is also an artist so the rest of our wall space at home is occupied by his abstract oil paintings.

Is there something you are looking forward to accomplishing at Waddington’s?

Waddington’s already has access to a stellar variety of artworks by international artists. During my time here, I hope to expand this market – growing Waddington’s reputation as the premier auction house for International Arts in the country. Collectors shouldn’t have to look abroad to buy and sell “blue chip” works of art. There is a diverse array of collections and collectors in Canada and I think it is time for Canada’s art market to show that off.

We invite you to read Alicia’s first article for Waddington’s News section, a text on Max Liebermann’s “Samson and Delilah,” sold in our recent Canadian and International Fine Art auction.


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